Blood clots: they’re pernicious and sometimes deadly. Now, women taking birth control containing drospirenone are 6 to 7 times more likely to develop them. Blood clots damage virtually every organ they reach, causing stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and more. So even a slightly increased risk can be—and indeed, has been—fatal for thousands. That’s why Yaz birth control lawsuits are growing more widespread.
Let’s take a look at what’s going on with Yaz birth control, what the actual risk is, and explore other contraceptive options.
Yaz Birth Control and Deep Vein Thrombosis
Any birth control that combines progestin with estrogen has serious side effect risks, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT). However, all birth control pills are slightly different. The popular contraceptive drospirenone (commercially marketed as Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, or Safyral) is 2-3x more likely to cause painful and potentially life-threatening conditions than other competitors. For this reason, thousands of women are affected.
Deep vein thrombosis happens when a blood clot forms in a body’s deep vein, typically within your legs. The blood clot can then break loose and travel to your lungs. Once in the lungs, it blocks blood flow and causes pulmonary embolism. In fact, the two almost always occur together, so doctors refer to it as venous thromboembolism. This potentially life-threatening condition is extremely serious. Still, many women on birth control don’t know about the increased blood clot risks until they experience symptoms. But once you feel it, it’s too late.
So What Makes Drospirenone So Dangerous?
The worst part about drospirenone—and the reason for related lawsuits—is the lack of information. Drospirenone became popular because of other side effects advertised alongside birth control. Women were told they’d have less acne and milder PMS symptoms. Bayer Pharmaceuticals had claimed that the drug did not pose a risk of clots above and beyond the competition, so women flocked to fill prescriptions.
But there was a problem: women taking drospirenone were 2-3x more likely to get a blood clot than women on other oral contraceptives. Worse, they’re 6-7x more likely to get a blood clot than women who don’t take oral contraceptives at all.
Then FDA issued a 2011 safety warning about oral contraceptives containing drospirenone. It states those contraceptives are associated with higher blood clot risks than others containing progestin. The agency also sated that Yaz, Yasmin, and other drospirenone-based pills should add blood clot risks to their warning labels.
More than 12,000 women filed Yaz birth control lawsuits against Bayer for not properly alerting consumers about potential drug risks. Bayer paid each plaintiff around $212,000 to settle their claims.
Contraceptive Alternatives to Yaz Birth Control
There’s no evidence that drospirenone-based birth control pills are more effective than progestin. So if you’re considering Yaz birth control, be sure to:
- Let your doctor know if you smoke—and that doesn’t just mean cigarettes
- Talk about any family history of blood clots
- Ask your doctor’s opinion of drospirenone
- Discuss whether an oral contraceptive is the right choice for your body and your circumstances
The best way to stay healthy is to stay informed.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.